Protect Your Business with Responsible Marine Tourism – Top Tips for Agents & Operators Did you know, currently an estimated one million new scuba divers are certified each year with millions more snorkelling worldwide on coral reefs. The survival of the marine tourism industry depends on healthy coral reefs with lots of marine life and there is a growing interest from tourists for environmentally responsible operators. Green Fins provides the only internationally recognised environmental standards for the scuba diving and snorkelling industry. Active members are certified annually through a robust environmental assessment and training process. Green Fins membership will show your customers that you care about the environment they have travelled so far to see. The initiative also enables policy makers to identify areas of high environmental risk within the industry. This means they can work with business owners to find a suitable solution to local threats. Scuba divers and snorkellers are vital guardians of the fragile and beautiful underwater world. You can give customers a higher quality of experience by encouraging them to book with Green Fins members and sharing these easy environmental Green Fins guidelines before they even go away: No stepping on coral: Divers and snorkellers can easily break coral with their feet or fins. This can cause injury and kill coral reefs No touching or chasing marine life: This can lead to stressed and scared animals that will swim away, leaving nothing for guests to see No stirring the sediment: Careless divers and swimmers who stir up the sand can cause damage and ruin the beauty of the reef for photographers and visitors alike Do not buy souvenirs of shell, coral or other marine life: This encourages people to take marine life from the ocean, removing the beautiful creatures people have travelled so far to see Do not take marine life – dead or alive: Removing species that would normally break down and be recycled into the sea leaves other animals without nutrients and elements they need for growth. Even empty shells on the beach play an important role in the wider ecosystem. Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but bubbles. No gloves: Gloves can encourage tourists to touch things underwater, which could cause fatal injury and damage marine life No feeding fish: This can make fish sick or aggressive, causing them to attack and injure humans. Fed fish are also more likely to leave their nests empty and vulnerable to predators No littering: Throwing trash in the ocean kills marine life, poisons seafood and can injure tourists. Encourage recycling and proper disposal Do not support shark finning: People will travel thousands of miles to see sharks in the wild, supporting entire tourism industries. Sharks are worth more alive than dead – do not support this brutal industry Wear reef-safe sunscreen: Some chemical components in sunscreen – including Oxybenzone and Octinoxate - may have a negative impact on coral reefs. Help protect coral from harmful chemicals by using alternatives which are reef-safe and covering up with clothing when in strong sunshine. Report environmental violations: If you see any destructive practices or violations of environmental laws, tell your dive guide, dive operator or government officials. By informing key authorities, you are being part of the solution as your actions can lead to appropriate action. Participate in conservation projects: By taking part in conservation projects, you can have a positive effect on the environment and help educate others. By sharing the Green Fins philosophy with your customers, not only will you help ensure your top diving and snorkelling destinations are protected for many years to come but operators will be grateful for the respectful customers you send them, strengthening your future business relationships. If you’re interested in more information on how your marine tourism business can reduce its negative environmental impact, you can purchase the Green Fins Dive and Snorkel Centre Operational Handbook for just £20. This handbook is a one-stop-shop of practical solutions to everyday environmental challenges for dive and snorkel centres, based on over 10 years of industry knowledge. The marine tourism industry has a very powerful voice. By setting a good example, inspiring other businesses and working together as a community, we can protect coral reefs for future generations. The Reef-World Foundation leads the global implementation of the UN Environment’s Green Fins initiative, which focuses on driving environmentally friendly scuba diving and snorkelling practices across the industry globally. To keep up with our latest news and developments, please follow Reef-World on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. You can also follow the Green Fins initiative on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to keep up to date with new materials, updates and sustainability insights from Green Fins members.